Friday, November 25, 2016


“Hope itself is like a star- not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. ” 
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon

       From a beautiful, sunny day yesterday to a dreary, chilly day today!  Actually, kind of nice weather to just stay in, after a busy day yesterday!  Great time with family and extended family.  Since Andrea and I are Marti's only family in the area, Marti's in-laws have very graciously  "adopted" us as family members too.  We have always, since Marti and Graham were married over 25 years ago, had a very close relationship which has only deepened through the years, with the birth of shared grandkids, and the loss of family members...parents, siblings, spouses, etc.  
The Ayers Clan
     This is our adopted family!  On the far left is Sara with her wife, Laura; then Luke with his wife, Jordan-both Sara and Luke are the children of Angela Ayers Nickell and husband Brant who are on the far right.  In the middle are Bob and Eddy Lou Ayers, the parents/grandparents of the clan. In the center behind them is Colin (our shared grandson) and next to him Kathleen (our shared granddaughter)-both children of Graham Ayers behind Kathleen and Mary/Marti Dodds Ayers-my daughter. Great family...I have known these Ayers and Nickell kids from birth and feel very much a part of this clan!
The Jay Dodds' family
And here I am with my smaller clan!  Another really good-looking bunch!  These were taken yesterday at Bob and Eddy Lou's home.  As I said, a beautiful day inside and out!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

"I woke this morning with a devout thanksgiving for  my friends, the old and the new!"  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving Wall Hanging
     This is a wall hanging I made several years ago with fabric I had gotten in New England when Dick and I took our first big trip after I retired.  We went to New Hampshire, Vermont, etc in the fall when the colors were just fabulous!  The wall hanger is one made by Dick...representing geese flying in formation.

Vermont Creek
       When we retired and built our home on a couple of acres southwest of Fort Worth, we hosted the Thanksgiving Feast for family far and near.  At one time we had nearly 30 people....everyone would bring food...we did the turkey, dressing and gravy and desserts.  Football and games after! Now that I am living in a condo, I don't have room for such a crowd, but we still get together....not quite so many.  Either my daughter here in Fort Worth or her In-laws host.  Still good times had by all!
        As I write this at 5:00AM I am reflecting on what Thanksgiving means beyond eating, games, and football.  I have a few friends who do not celebrate Thanksgiving because of the connection to Europeans invasion of the land of the Native Americans.  Although I have great sympathy for Indigenous People, I can celebrate the time together and look beyond that horrendous period to what the meaning of Thanksgiving has taken on for me.
      For me this is  a time of gathering together of those I hold most  dear. And to those family in far away places, I know you are gathering together also and can visualize your feasting, too.   So much laughter and fun, not to mention the great food!!!  Dick and I always said we liked Thanksgiving better than Christmas which to me has gotten so materialistic...whereas Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and of hope.  
      Now I have to go make my apple pie to take this afternoon for the gathering so to all my family and friends, near and far away...Happy Thanksgiving and may the coming year be one of positive energy and gratitude for what is good in this world!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Meeting of the Crones

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” 
― Henry David ThoreauI to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau

      Yesterday, my art quilters group, studioQ, held our monthly meeting at Cabbage Rose, a fabric shop in Fort Worth.  This was our first time to meet in their new location.  When we first organized nearly 10 years ago, there were about 12 of us.  I guess it was our second year that we decided to do a Round Robin...that is a project where someone begins with a central block (the red square in the center bordered by black and more red in this case), then passes the block on to the next person with scarps of the fabric used.  The next person adds more and passes it with the fabric they received and the fabric they added.  This continues until everyone has added something. Our last person decided it was enough so she added embellishments!  And below you see the results! Which was returned yesterday by a newer member who had been enjoying it at her home.
       That first year, we entered it into the Trinity Valley Quilt Guild show in the  group category....the poor little thing looked so pathetic hanging with all these huge traditional quilts!  Nine or so years ago, art quilts were a bit of an oddity! Now all major quilt shows have an Art Quilt category which is quite extensive in some places.  There are even shows with nothing but Art Quilts!

An Early Round Robin
       And we didn't have a name yet either!  Shortly after that we decided we needed a name, by golly!  I was personally fond of being the Creative Crones, but several of our younger members didn't want to called a "Crone" which has, according to the dictionary, two distinct meanings:
1. Derogatory An old woman considered to be ugly; a hag.
2. woman who is venerated for experience, judgment, and wisdom.
I personally think the numbers should be switched, but there you have it!  So we became studioQ in lower case letters/capital Q.  The "Q" doesn't stand for anything in particular...could be anything! But I still use the Creative Crone moniker...(thus the name of my blog) with the emphasis on the number two definition!!!
        Any way, when we met yesterday, one of our focuses was to show our current challenge.  As I think I mentioned in an earlier blog, we have enjoyed doing our Masterpiece Challenge so much we decided to continue it and expand it to not just paintings, but any chosen art form. So last month Michelle gave us Frank Gehry's "Biomuseo", a museum designed by him and opened in 2014 in Panama City, Panama.  I have given you a link to the has a very interesting mission, etc..

From this picture, many of us designed an art quilt with this for inspiration.

My rendition...I doing quite a bit of hand stitching on it so am not quite binding yet.
One of Heather's
One of Michelle's
A group shot of all of them together
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of everyone's individual, but you can see them altogether here.  Our next challenge will not be until January...we are meeting in December but just for the food...nothing serious!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Theater Weekend

“Yesterday is but a dream,  Tomorrow is only a vision. 
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.” 
― KālidāsaThe complete works of Kalidasa

      This was my "theater" weekend! Saturday night I went to the Fine Arts movie at the Modern of Fort Worth with my good friend, Joy.  We saw "The Handmaiden" which was quite intense!  It was again in subtitles as many of their movies are.  The setting was Japan; the languages were spoken were Japanese  and Korean so the subtitles (which was told to the audience at the beginning) were in white for one and yellow for the other. And that was important because it helps the viewer realize that not all characters spoke both languages so some subterfuge was occurring.

The four main characters
      This is not a film all would enjoy because there are some scenes of very graphic love-making but we both thought the development of the intrigue, the mystery; how the plot grew, twisted and changed to a very satisfactory finale, was so gripping that the love-making was a vital part of the complete story!  This is  film I will not soon forget!
      Then we continued the evening with a late dinner at The Tavern, one of my favorite restaurants in FW. One of their signature dishes is their iron skillet cornbread!  They also have great soups, salads, seafood...Joy said her crab cakes were the best she had EVER had!  Cornbread can be purchased by the slice or by the skillet...I recommend the skillet so there is some left to take home!

Inside the Tavern
      Then today (Sunday), this afternoon, several of us went to the play at the Stage West where we have season tickets.  We also ate lunch there before the performance which is always another eating favorite!  They serve a brunch on Sunday which is huge!!  And tasty!  Quiche, fruit, cup of soup (today it was corn chowder), and a mini muffin.  They also have sandwiches and salads for those not wanting the Brunch.  And the Mimosas are hard to pass up! Desserts are always a real treat, too.
       The play we saw today was "Murder for Two"...there are only two actors in the whole play; one of them is the Detective, and the other guy plays ALL the suspects!   They are also  singers, pianists, and dancers.  It is a very cute farce with two very talented young men!

The "Murder for Two" Cast
     I think this play is on for another 2-3 weeks.  I have given you a link to the Stage West website if you want to check it out.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The First Day

“Write it on your heart

that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.” 

        This is a little long for my introductory quote, but the whole poem spoke to me such that I couldn't just pull out a part of it. is the first day of MY new year.  I do need to speak of yesterday, because it was such a wonderful day!  I was taken to lunch by my good friends, Debby and Raymond Pitts.
Jay and Debby
They took me to the Press Cafe, one of the new restaurants off of the Chisholm Trail area. Great lunch and then we split one of their HUGE cookies!

The Press Cafe (obviously!)
Then in the evening, my daughter Marti, granddaughter Kathleen, and SIL Graham took me to dinner at  La Madeleine's, another favorite of mine...great soups, sandwiches and salads!  And  I had a birthday coupon for a birthday dessert which we all shared! My grandkids have traditionally since they could put pencil to paper made birthday cards for their grandparents and today was no exception.  I rec'd a handmade card from Kathleen as well as a very appropriate card and gift certificate from Graham and Marti.

Graham, Kathleen, Marti, and Jay
    Earlier in the day, I had a text from my sweet grandson who is a Freshman at University of Arkansas, a phone call from daughter Andrea in McKinney, and all day long I received pings announcing messages on FB, text messages and emails  from family and friends from all over!!! And one very special email from Heifer International!

Andrea had contacted me earlier in the week to see if I would mind if she sent me a gift by way of this wonderful organization, Heifer International which sponsors third world country individuals by gifting them with basic needs which hopefully help with ongoing successes.... a flock of geese, a calf, sheep, etc. I, of course, said "yes".  I love getting gifts, but really, what do I need?? Nothing in the material sense so I am going to encourage more gifting of this nature!  
     Here is a copy of their mission statement and I have created a link I hope you can use if you wish.

"Founded in 1944, Heifer Project International is a sustainable development organization that works to end hunger and poverty and protect the earth. Through livestock, training and Passing on the Gift, Heifer has helped 15.5 million families in more than 125 countries improve their quality of life and move toward greater self-reliance. Heifer helps build strong communities because each project participant Passes on the Gift of their animal's first female offspring, training in its care and in sustainable agriculture to another family in need, multiplying the benefit."

And last thought on this first day of the rest of my life!!!!


Friday, November 18, 2016

Today Is Mickey Mouse's Birthday

"This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.” 
― Ralph Waldo EmersonCollected Poems and Translations

      Mickey Mouse was born 88 years ago from the pen of Walt Disney.  He and I have shared the date for 76 years!  Embrace your birthdays!  We are not getting older...we are getting wiser!  We have another opportunity to accomplish amazing things!  When I was teaching, I had a quote I always attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt on my wall.   "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"! I don't know where I saw it to give her the credit and it was a great catalyst for discussion with my kids.  Of course, that was pre-Google days, so this morning I googled it and lo! and Behold!  it is NOT attributed to is said to be a quote from Charles Dederich, a reformed alcoholic who founded Synanon, a rehab program with a shady past established in the '60s! If you are interested in knowing more about the man and the movement, I have linked you to a New York times article published in  1997 at the the time of man's death.  After reading about him and wanting to give credit where credit is due, I am kind of glad I innocently credit Eleanor because I do think it is a great quote....words to live by!
      I also wanted to post about a couple other things. I have finished the next book for my Villa Book Club.  "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry"  by Gabrielle Zevin.  It is about a man, a bit of a recluse, who owns a bookstore.  Each chapter begins with a blurb by Fikry about a book he is critiquing...real books.  Very good read...I give it four stars.  When we meet to discuss it in December, we are actually going to an independent bookstore!

Book Cover for Bookclub Choice
     I have also become a listener of audio books. I check them out through the Fort Worth library system on my iPhone so I have them with me wherever I go!  I really enjoy most of them...if after a chapter or two they haven't grabbed me, or the reader is annoying, I just cancel them and reload a new one.  A recent one I just finished is "The American Heiress" by Daisy Goodwin. It is total fiction but an interesting read about the early 1900's...wealthy Americans/ poor but  titled English!

Book Cover
Sometimes after  a chapter or so, I decide rather than listen to the book, I want to read it...something about the beauty of the written word.  But many of the readers are really good...changing voice to indicate gender or age, accents, etc. And with my newly productive time, I can listen and do stuff!!!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

This and That

“This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.” 
― David NichollsOne Day

     Well, I have broken my vow of no news!!  Actually, I haven't really broken it, just slightly modified it.  Last night I was at dinner with some friends and someone mentioned that Gwen Ifill had passed away.
I have admired her for so many years; she has been my one source of good news reporting on PBS and her Friday show Washington Week.  I had no idea she was even sick so it came as a great shock to me to hear this!  Therefore, I have amended my stance on no news!  So here is my new plan...I also admire Charlie Rose, also of PBS so I am taping his show and the News Hour on PBS.  That way I can fast forward through any crap I don't really want to hear about....any negative stuff...but still be kind of in the moment on what is going on. We'll see how that goes!
     On a different note, last Sunday, I went to the last performance of the year at Amphibian Theater.

Amphibian Theater 2016 Theater Season
The last one was "Smart, Pretty, Funny" was OK, kind of cute, but the one thing I took away from it had very little to do with the play itself.  The Amphibian theater is a small intimate theater where the front row is actually on the same level at the stage.  So as the actors play their roles they may be just a few feet from the audience.  We were on the first this one scene, one of the characters picks up a Clementine...those little oranges/mandarins...began to peel it and eat it!  Right in front of me!  Those little guys have a wonderful odor!  The next day, I was at the grocery story and HAD to buy a bag of them....fortunately they are zero calories on the Weight Watcher point scale!

I guess it's a good thing they were not eating donuts or chocolate cake!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Super Moon!

“It is good to know our universe. What is new is only new to us.”
— Pearl S. Buck

      According to the Farmer's Almanac, the Super Moon is also called the Beaver Moon.  Here is the explanation I found for that name.
          "The November's full Moon was called the Beaver Moon by both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes because this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. It was also called the Full Frost Moon by Native Americans."
       I find the skies to be an amazing part of our universe!  So yesterday morning, I was awake about 5:30AM. I showered, dressed, went outside to see where that  ol' Super Moon was.  It was still pretty dark out but here is what I saw at that time.
Above the trees looking West
I decided to fix a thermos with coffee and had a bite to eat then headed down to the gazebo which overlooks the bluff to the West.  That moon was really flying as when I got there is was just above the horizon, but I got a few pictures and had my coffee while appreciating nature!

Overlooking Benbrook!
A little lower
Almost gone
Yesterday evening, I thought I would look for the moon rising.  East of me is all city, so that didn't happen!  But from my condo window, once it gets up aways, the moon shines through a rounded window I have...

Last night about 9:00PM
        Now that I know the moon sets really fast, I plan ahead!  I wake up about 4:45, didn't mess with showering yet...just got dressed.  I had read that better pictures could be taken with "real" cameras rather than iPhones...well, I have a couple of real cameras!  I get them out and test them...both batteries are dead!!  And I have to go because that moon will not wait for me!  I have my thermos, my phone, my is 47 outside...I am bundled up!  After all, I grew up in Illinois!
        I get to the gazebo in the dark (yes, my daughters, I had a flashlight....on my phone)!

Over Benbrook, about 5:30AM
     I am there!  I am ready!  And I am set for the, an audio book on my phone, a nice wood bench to sit on! I take a picture every few minutes, but I will spare posting each and every one!
Over Benbrook, 6:45 AM
It is starting to get a little light out...the moon has moved just a bit (now I know, the MOON is not moving....we are!  but use your imaginations!)  It sure seems slower than last night!

About 7:15 AM
Hmmmm, I am  beginning to wonder why it seems so much slower, so I get up and walk the half mile around my condo area..twice!  At least I am getting my exercise in early!

Maybe 7:30ish
I am sensing another phenomena that did not occur yesterday!  I do not know why...the sky seems the same to me as yesterday, but for some reason,  yesterday, I could definitely see the gold-orange moon; this morning, the moon is getting fainter as the day gets brighter! I do stick it out...I do see it creep below the horizon...maybe if I had my "REAL" camera I could have gotten a shot of it! But with my fake was too pale to photograph! I mean, I did photograph it, but you would not be able to see it!
      I still had a wonderful, silent, experience that I wanted to share with you!  I don't think I am going to try it tomorrow morning...but who will all depend on what time my body says "Wake UP"!


Monday, November 14, 2016

Our Beautiful World-Strange

 “This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.” 
― David NichollsOne Day  

  The theme for this week's pictures on the Our Beautiful World blog is "Strange".  In looking through my billions and billions of pictures, the strangest, most awesome ones I could find were nature related.  Mother Nature is a  force to behold.  And I couldn't choose just one!

The tenacity of the will to live!!
     This is a tree growing out of sheer rock on the right, with roots stretching over to deeper soil for nourishment on the left.  I saw this on a small boat trip we took on Lake Superior, part of the
 Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore off Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The phenomenal Bay of Fundy
       The Bay of Fundy is located along the coasts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Maine.  It is considered to be one of the seven wonders of North America.  We can truly say we have walked the ocean floor! I have linked to a youtube film which helps explain why it called a wonder.

Canyon de Chelly
     Another spectacular view of Mother Nature!  I took this from an overlook at Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "shay") of the Spider Rocks, located in northeastern Arizona.

Sign on a barrel outside a roadside rest place.
    And my last picture for the "Strange" Theme was taken on one of our road trips, I can't remember where in the States, but a reminder of what a world we live see all these wonders of nature, and then to live in a country where people have to be warned to not eat food from trash barrells!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Studio Tour and Temples

“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.” 
― John Lennon

     Yesterday I had a wonderful experience visiting artists' studios in the Lewisville/Flower Mound area.  It was the 15th Annual Tour sponsored by the Cross Timbers Artists' Guild. There were twenty-two artists with open studios. Many were demonstrating their craft which added even more fun to the experience.
       Our first visit was to the studio of Barbara Oliver Hartman, an extremely talented Fiber Artist who was demonstrating one of her techniques of stitching.
Barbara Oliver Hartman
Some of my SAQA fellow artists at Barbara Oliver Hartman's studio
Barbara Oliver Hartman's
This is one of Barbara's, hanging in her home.  My photo of it really doesn't do it justice! Walking through her house is like walking through an art museum!  I absolutely love her work and she is  such a generous person to give of her time and talent.  I came away very inspired!!
     On the way to our next studio open house, we diverted to the Quilt Country Fabric Shop in Lewisville because one of our peoples had a gift certificate burning a hole in her pocket. Then, as it was nearing the noon hour, we had to find a place to nourish our tummies...good ol' Smashburgers!!!
     Back on the road again to the home/studio of Irma Murray, a watercolor and color pencil artist. Then to Marie Klotz, a jeweler and ceramicist.

Marie in her studio...she lives way out in the country...beautiful surroundings in Copper Canyon
Then onward to the home/studio of Diane Hicks- watercolors, collage and bookbinding.  And to Eric Orr- pottery and sculpturing also in the Copper Creek area where we heard about  his classes on pottery and rake glazing...another craft to learn!!
Eric Orr showing one of his many kilns
     Our last stop on our tour (we were not able to go to all of them) was to the home/studio of
 Gloria Haefner-Gatti and Richard Gatti, a wife-husband team of weavers.
Gloria Haefner-Gatti showing us the intricacies of one of their looms.
     On the way home, Kay, our designated driver asked if we (Heather and I) had ever seen the Buddhist temple in Keller which we responded no. So she took us there...we drove through the open gate.

The Gate 
      We asked this man sitting at a table outside if it would be alright to park and walk around. With his assent we did so; I don't know what his capacity is but he seemed to be "on guard".  He showed us where we could go and said it would be ok to take pictures.  Then he asked us if we wanted to go inside which we did.   He escorted us in; we all had to leave our shoes at the door.  He then encouraged us to take pictures and explained some of the things to us with a heavy accent but we were able to understand quite a bit of what he said.

The first temple  we entered
The Buddha in the above temple, surrounded by real flowers, pictures on the wall, many symbolic designs.
The second temple-again leaving our shoes at the door-Dragon handrails up the stairs
The very large Buddha in the second temple we entered. 
     This temple was even more ornate....floor, ceiling, walls and pictures. Our self-appointed guide  told us that all the paintings were had painted in Thailand and brought here specifically for this building.  
One side of the front door
Above the front door on the inside
One of many pictures on the wall depicting the life of Buddha
The Dragon hand rail into the second temple
     I don't really know much about Buddhism but seeing these temples has made me curious to learn more.  I know the philosophy is very gentle thinking which is not a bad idea right now!  So, I'll keep you all posted on my findings!!
      All in all, a fabulous day!!!